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Culture to Do: March 20, 2024

On Friday, March 22, Hip Hop artist Tem Blessed will perform on The Fabulous 413 at 3 p.m. He then heads to The Drake in Amherst for an 8 p.m. show.

Connecticut River Conservancy
River Round Robin: Bonfire Story Sharing
The Boathouse at Brunelle’s Marina, South Hadley
Thursday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m.
Here’s a nice way to mark the arrival of spring. Attendees will sit around firepits on the patio of the Boathouse, enjoy hot cocoa and s’mores, and share river stories. Bring your story typed on paper to be included in a future anthology of river fun. Extend the night (and get warmer!) with dinner indoors at The Boathouse. Bring your own portable chair.

LaughCrafters Spring Kickoff Show
Unity House Players, 245 Porter Lake Drive, Springfield
Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m.
The LaughCrafters Spring Kickoff Show will feature live unscripted comedy created right on the spot based on audience interaction, performed by the Phantom Sheep Players, western Massachusetts’ longest running professional comedy troupe. The company provides original entertainment and arts education for local schools, theaters, and special events and offers a weekly adult improv class. Some students from their recent winter workshop will be making special appearances on stage during this Thursday’s event.

Ms. Lisa Fischer with Mr. Taylor Eigsti
Bombyx, Florence
Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m.
If you’ve seen the documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” you know about Ms. Lisa Fischer’s legendary duet with Mick Jagger on “Gimme Shelter.” Now she is emerging as a well-known, inventive and heartfelt interpreter of music. With remarkable vocal range and vocabulary, Fischer can sing soul, jazz, rock, gospel, pop, folk, and classical with equal facility and authority – often in the same song. Accompanied by Taylor Eigsti on piano, this intimate performance will have you perched on the edge of your seat, wanting more.

Berkshire International Film Festival: Common Ground
Lenox Town Hall
Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m.
Sobering yet hopeful, Common Ground exposes the interconnectedness of American farming policy, politics, and illness. Follow the solution-driven plight of regenerative farmers as they make a case for soil health across the continent and beyond.

Off Book Antics presents Slightly Off–Center
Northampton Canter for the Arts
Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m.
Off Book Antics, an entirely teen founded and led theatre ensemble, is presenting a new show. Together, the group selected scenes from their favorite plays and devised an overarching plot to tie them all together. 50% of our night is made up of pieces from popular shows like Bright Half Life and Angels in America, and the other 50% is student-written and improvised material. And, everything from the props, to the fundraising, to the tech was 100% put together by teens.

Cuarteto Rotterdam
The Foundry, West Stockbridge
Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m.
With creativity, imagination, and experience, Cuarteto Rotterdam conjures up a world of tango for all kinds of emotions. In compact quartet style, they present the Golden Age of tango from the 1940s with highlights of the grand orchestras a la Di Sarli, Troilo, D’Arienzo, Pugliese and Salgán. In searching for the tango of the 21st century, they have included contemporary Argentine and European tango pieces. The Foundry is a multi-disciplinary performance venue in the heart of West Stockbridge.

Ashuelot Concerts: Piano Trios by Schubert, Brahms & Chopin
Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Stonewall Farm, Keene
Sunday, March 24 at 3 p.m. at The Park Theatre, Jaffrey
Marvel at the stunning acoustics of Stonewall farm in Keene or The Park Theatre in Jaffery with a program of piano trios by Schubert, Brahms and Chopin, performed by leading British musicians Guy Johnston, Louisa Stonehill, and Nick Burns. Experience the heartbreakingly beautiful melodies of Schubert, the towering grandeur of Brahms, and the hauntingly expressive work of Chopin.

Tem Blessed
The Drake, Amherst
Friday, March 22 at 8 p.m.
Born in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa to Cape Verdean parents, Hip Hop artist Tem Blessed is a graduate of UMass Amherst. Designed to inspire positive change and global responsibility, his music and message are about social justice and sustainability. Tem recently released an afro futuristic graphic novel titled Planeta Blu - Rise of Agoo, published by Dark Horse Comics. This 272-page visual masterpiece is designed to encourage and inspire young adults to dream big and work towards saving humanity through themes of compassion, sacrifice, determination, and love.

Plus! Tem Blessed will be in the Fabulous 413 studio this week for “Live Music Friday.”

Slavic Easter Egg Decorating Workshops
Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum, Lenox
Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Monday, March 25 through Thursday, March 28 from 2 – 4 p.m.
Celebrate the Easter season with a unique opportunity to learn a time-honored craft. This Eastern European tradition of creating intricate and beautifully decorated eggs has been passed down for generations. Lenox resident Tjasa Sprague, who will lead the workshop, learned the technique many years ago from her Czechoslovakian mother, Maria Krofta.

Wilde Irish Women presents Margaret Maher and the Celtification of Emily Dickinson
The Academy of Music, Northampton
Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m.
How did a lowly Irish maid — Maggie — manage to command the respect and trust of her beloved mistress Emily Dickinson? Maggie’s descendants passed on their belief that Maggie defied Emily’s death bed decree to burn her poems. That may be part of the reason we have so many. The story is told in original lyrics and music with songs from Emily’s poems, and some poetic Irish artistic license. Founded by Rosemary Caine of Ardee, County Louth, Ireland, Wilde Irish Women is a collaborative performance group based in Western Massachusetts. You can learn more by listening to Rosemary Caine’s recent appearance on The Fabulous 413.

Mike Love
Hawks & Reed, Greenfield
Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m.
Born in O’ahu, Hawaii, Mike Love is a musician devoted to revolution through sound. Coming from a family of musicians, he uses music as a conversation to inspire positive change in the world. Mike’s independent releases on his Love Not War Records label fuse roots reggae with influences from progressive and classic rock, soul, blues, flamenco, jazz, and classical music. His songs address environmental issues, animal cruelty, and personal growth, promoting consciousness and mindfulness. For Mike Love, music is a powerful form of healing, learning, and growing.

South Hadley Chorale Concert
Abbey Chapel, Mount Holyoke College
Sunday, March 24 at 3 p.m.
For its annual concert, the South Hadley Chorale will perform the Fauré Requiem, “Missa Kenya” by Paul Basler, and works by Alice Parker and Anita Anderson Cooper. “Missa Kenya” was inspired by a year that the composer spent as Senior Fulbright Lecturer in Music at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. It is a work of celebration that ends with a prayer for peace and understanding throughout the world. The concert also features the Harris Brook Elementary School Chorus from Ludlow. Anita Anderson Cooper conducts.

A Gathering: Works from Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists
Springfield Museums
Closes Sunday, March 24
This is the first traveling museum exhibition to focus on Black ceramic artists working today, and you have until Sunday to see it! This survey of functional and sculptural ceramics shines a light on 36 innovative makers. Understanding the role of clay in carrying ancestral and cultural knowledge from Africa to the Americas, several artists use their medium to explore history, including histories of enslavement, as well as heritage and identity. Other artists respond to calls for social justice, celebrate Black beauty, or convey personal stories of connection, celebration, and triumph.

UMass Department of Music and Dance
43rd Annual Jazz Showcase: Home Grown
Bowker Auditorium
Tuesday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s your chance to experience the full scope of UMass’ award-winning jazz program. Hear performances by ensembles like Jazz Ensemble I and Chapel Jazz and the UMass Vocal Ensemble, which was named the top collegiate Latin Jazz ensemble by DownBeat Magazine in 2023. There will also be smaller combos and chamber groups, plus appearances by jazz faculty as well. This year's theme is "Home Grown," as all of the music performed was written or arranged by UMass alumni, students, and current or former faculty, including the late Dr. Billy Taylor.

A Simple Circle
The Amy H. Carberry Fine Arts Gallery at Springfield Technical Community College
Gallery talk with photographer James Gehrt Thursday, March 28, at 12 noon
137 years ago, a small wooden box camera called the Kodak No. 1 was invented by George Eastman, marking the beginning of the democratization of image-making. Some of these early Kodak cameras will be on display at the Carberry Gallery alongside original circle photographs and Kodak advertisements dating back to the 1880s and contemporary photographs from the 2020s by James Gehrt.

Yiddish: A Global Culture
The Yiddish Book Center, Amherst
Sundays – Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This groundbreaking permanent exhibition, which opened last fall, tells the extraordinary story of modern Yiddish culture through hundreds of rare objects, family heirlooms, photographs, music, and videos. It is a rich and revelatory account that places Yiddish at the heart of the modern Jewish story.

The Global Journey of Yiddish Literature
Related Online Lecture Series presented by the Yiddish Book Center
Wednesdays, March 27 – April 17 from 7 – 8:30 p.m.
The literary journey of Yiddish has spanned hundreds of years and six continents. Join Professor Ilan Stavans of Amherst College and take a voyage around the world to discover Yiddish literature in its incredible breadth and depth, from Argentina to Zimbabwe, Mexico to Melbourne. Along the way you’ll encounter the writings of authors such as David Fram (South Africa), Mimi Pinzon (Argentina), and Pinchas Goldhar (Australia), among others, and will get a close-up look at the Yiddish Book Center’s new core exhibition, Yiddish: A Global Culture.